Photo by DANIA MAXWELL, NAPLES DAILY NEWS // Buy this photo
At first glance, it's a limousine; on second look, a bus.
Upon closer inspection, you'll find a Busozene — a black party bus plastered with a decal that tricks the eye and elevates the mode of transportation.
It takes a few seconds to figure out, which is occasionally a problem for entrepreneur George Greer. When Greer, 78, came up with the idea for Busozene three years ago and ran an ad in Iowa's Quad City Times, even his close friends didn't see past the optical illusion.
"You stop someone right here," Greer said, "they're going to see nothing but the limousine. That's what makes it cool."
A part-time resident of Lehigh Acres, Greer and his wife, Tracy, brought the Busozene to Southwest Florida, most recently shuttling a group of 60 or so seniors to the Seminole Casino in Immokalee on Wednesday.
A native of Belfast, Tenn., Greer said he grew up without electricity or running water and attended a small school built by a wealthy local "so the black kids would have a place to go to school." He has always considered himself an entrepreneur.
"How else can you make it when you had to sell skunk hides for a dollar?" said Greer, whose childhood venture earned him the nickname "George the Trapper."
Even after a successful career running a cleaning supplies business up north, Greer sees no reason to stop working in his golden years. He came up with the idea for Busozene while playing a round of golf and thinking about a friend who had lost his home building business in the housing market crash.
"I have an idea," he told his wife.
"Please George," Tracy said. "Not another idea."
Greer's friend had converted a 1981 Greyhound bus into a party bus but wasn't having much luck building a customer base. Greer bought the materials, and with Tracy's help with graphic design, the couple created a decal that, against a dark background, made the bus look like a limousine.
Although Greer's business caters mostly to private clients, his ultimate hope is to transform public transportation.
"This is really my goal, to innovate public transit, to get more riders and make it more fun to ride a bus," he said.
Greer has created mock-ups of city buses in Fort Myers using the Busozene design and says he is pitching the idea to transportation officials in Lee County and across the country.
But for now, he is happy driving around with a Busozene full of seniors — a population for whom he has a certain affinity.
"Most people want to throw them under the bus," Greer said. "We put them on it."